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Maine poll shows strong support for marriage

Timothy Kincaid

July 11th, 2012

The Portland Press Herald has conducted a poll of Maine voters to determine their position on the upcoming vote on marriage. The paper used the same language that is on the ballot:

In the upcoming November election, there will be a question on the ballot that reads: “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?” If the election were tomorrow, how would you vote on this ballot initiative?

57% – Yes
35% – No
8% – I don’t know

Every age, sex, and education demographic supports marriage equality. The only group that does not is Republicans, who oppose the initiative 64 to 30.

I was unable to find the poll questions, but the language of the question is very neutral and absent some unknown biasing lead-up questions, I think we can reasonably assume that this is representative of the public positions of the voters. There may be some Bradley Effect and the upcoming election advertising may shift the support, but at present this is very very good news.

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ODNT
July 11th, 2012 | LINK

What did the polls look like at this point in 2009? How did we perform vs polling?

TampaZeke
July 11th, 2012 | LINK

It’s a shame that so many Republicans are against marriage equality simply because it has become one of those defining litmus test issues right up there with being pro-life. I the Republican Party drops the issue as a “must toe the line” issue I believe a significant portion, perhaps even a majority of Republicans, will become marriage equality supporters. The good news is, Republicans are starting to soften their anti-gay platforms. I think the Young Conservatives for Marriage Equality initiative is brilliant and we be very effective, particularly with young Republicans and conservatives. I applaud those who are working so hard to move the Party into the 21st Century with gay rights and marriage equality.

To be fair, we’re still dragging large parts of the Democratic Party into the 21st Century on the issue too.

Stefan
July 12th, 2012 | LINK

That actually is not the final language. Even if the Secretary of State keeps it as is our say can go to court and likely get it changed.

F Young
July 12th, 2012 | LINK

@ODNT “What did the polls look like at this point in 2009? How did we perform vs polling?”

I wasn’t able to find a poll in June or July 2009 that would compare with this July 2012 poll timing-wise, but I found one on Sept 14-16 2009 of 600 likely voters done by Research 2000.

The question in the Sept 2009 opinion poll by Research 2000 was:

“As you may know there will be one question on the ballot this November in Maine addressing the issue of same-sex unions. In part it will read “Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry?” A yes vote takes away the right of same-sex couples to marry. A no vote keeps the right of same-sex couples to marry. If the election were held today would you vote YES or NO on this question?”

The responses to the Research 2000 opinion poll in Sept 2009 were:
48% yes (oppose same-sex marriage)
46% no
6% undecided.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/09/18/783757/-ME-Init-Gay-marriage-all-tied-up-heading-into-November?via=search

A poll by Public Policy Polling Maine just before the vote showed the numbers had changed to:
51% yes (oppose same-sex marriage)
47% no
2% undecided
(which seems to show that the previously undecided all changed to oppose same-sex marriage).
http://publicpolicypolling.typepad.com/pdf/2009/PPP_Release_ME_1102.pdf

In fact, the actual referendum results were:
53% yes (oppose same-sex marriage)
47% no
(which again seems to show that all the undecided changed to opposition to same-sex marriage)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_Question_1,_2009

By way of background, the question on the Nov 3, 2009 referendum was:

“Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?” A vote of “Yes” would repeal the law, while a vote of “No” would uphold the law.

As this BTB article states, the opinion poll results in July 2012 are:
57% Yes (SUPPORT same-sex marriage)
35% No
8% Don’t know

So, for November 2012, even if all the undecided became opponents of same-sex marriage, that still would not come close to defeating same-sex marriage.

Furthermore, the wording of the initiative question for November 2012 has not been finalized. There is a possibility that it will be changed to clarify that it would not affect religious marriage. If the wording were thus changed, support for same-sex marriage would go up even higher.

So, yes, it’s looking good for same-sex marriage in Maine in November 2012.

BTW I am not connected to the campaign and have no inside or in-depth knowledge of it.

JohnAGJ
July 12th, 2012 | LINK

I can’t help but be skeptical of this because we’ve been burned far too often in the past. Too many people either are confused by the poll questions and answer the wrong way, or intentionally lie to pollsters because they are embarassed by their real position. The only poll that I’ll beleive now is the one on Election Day.

ODNT
July 12th, 2012 | LINK

F Young:

Thank you for such a detailed response that was very illuminating.

Another reason to be cautiously optimistic is that the last vote was in 2009, a non-mid-term, non-presidential election year with low turnout, whereas this is a presidential year, which has the highest turnout. Is that something that is priced into the polls already?

Timothy Kincaid
July 13th, 2012 | LINK

Well said, Zeke

Hunter
July 14th, 2012 | LINK

Loathe as I am to make predictions, I suspect very strongly that we can expect a spate of very negative advertising just before the election, when NOM starts pumping money into the campaigns. The ads will be all about preachers going to jail and “Save the Children!” because that has always worked for them.

F Young
July 14th, 2012 | LINK

For what it’s worth, I predict that another factor influencing all the marriage equality referenda in November will be that in October 2012 the US Supreme Court will decide not to hear an appeal on California’s Proposition 8 (and instead agree to hear appeals on the federal DOMA), thus conclusively legalizing same-sex marriage in America’s biggest state.

Stephen Kay
July 15th, 2012 | LINK

Since prop. hate in cali i don’t trust any poll that has support for us listed as under 60%. I have yet to see one and we have yet to win a referendum concerning full marriage.

Stefan
July 15th, 2012 | LINK

For the record, NO poll in any state where there has been a referendum on same sex marriage at any point had support as high as the levels in Maine are. In California the highest they ever showed was 55% opposition and in Maine the highest was 53%.

Maine, Maryland, and Washington have all had polls at or exceeding 55% level of support (or opposition in Maine).

F Young
July 15th, 2012 | LINK

@Stephan “Maine, Maryland, and Washington have all had polls at or exceeding 55% level of support (or opposition in Maine).”

Can you clarify that statement? Did you actually mean:

“Maine, Maryland and Washington now all have polls at or exceeding 55% level of support for same-sex marriage.”

Stefan
July 16th, 2012 | LINK

I meant Maryland in terms of opposition since there referendum if passed would repeal same sex marriage. Sorry for the mix up.

Mark F.
July 16th, 2012 | LINK

I am cautiously optimistic that we will win all 4 referendums (including MN) this November. Call me crazy…

Stefan
July 17th, 2012 | LINK

Mark,

I am very confident that we’ll win Maine and Washington. Minnesota and Maryland I think are tossups, though Minnesota our side has a slight advantage since a blank vote counts as a No. Maryland also has show surges in support for marriage equality since Obama’s announcement.

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